When Emily Huntingford was nominated for a Barts Health Heroes award, she knew straight away who’d put her forward.
As an intensive care nurse at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, Emily looks after some of the sickest patients in London.
It was her time with one particular patient that reminded her of her own experience at her mum’s bedside, following a tragic accident in 2019.
Emily said: "I spent a couple of shifts taking care of a patient and his loved ones, during which time we went from active treatment to end of life care.
"To see their strength, sense of humour and love was truly inspiring. And to know that, whilst their partner and brother slipped away, I made even a small part of their time together more meaningful, means an awful lot to me."
"The nurses took the time to ask about my mum, the person she was and the happy memories we shared. It is this care that sets our professional apart and it has stayed in my heart ever since
She added: "To be nominated by the family was very special because around this time three years ago I was sat in intensive care next to my mum, Ann, at The Royal London.
"The nurses took the time to ask about my mum, the person she was and the happy memories we shared. It is this care that sets our professional apart and it has stayed in my heart ever since.
"Sadly, we lost my mum after three weeks in intensive care. Three years on, I’m proud that I can be that nurse to patients and their families in the worst times.
"I think my mum would be proud too."
Earlier this year, Emily and her family accepted the Order of St John on behalf of her mum who donated her organs to help others following her death.
Emily said: "My mum was able to donate her kidneys which was the most fitting way to reflect her generosity."
In April we accepted #theOrderofStJohn on behalf of my amazing mum for her generous #OrganDonation in 2019. Being in a room with families united by tragic loss remembering our loved ones together was powerful ♥️ thank you @stjohnambulance@NHSOrganDonor#givehope#prouddaughterpic.twitter.com/j4T28N6Z4Q— Emily Huntingford (@EmilyHuntingfor) June 30, 2022
Emily remains inspired by people’s resilience, even in the most difficult circumstances.
"Between the tears and despair, smiles and laughter can break through.
"We will all die at some point, sadly in intensive care this is usually earlier than feels fair.
"I hope as NHS staff we can support those going through the unthinkable, like colleagues did for my family three years ago."
Emily and her sister Tori are swimming the equivalent of the Channel over a number of weeks this summer to raise money for Essex and Herts Air Ambulance. Emily said: "They were the ones that air-lifted mum and without them we would have lost precious time." To find out more and donate, visit her Just Giving page.
Pictured above: Emily (right) with her mum Ann (left) and sister Tori.